Count Moïse de Camondo lived a few doors away from Edmund de Waal’s forebears, the Ephrussi. Like the Ephrussi, the Camondos were part of belle époque high society. They were also targets of anti-Semitism.
Camondo filled his house with a private collection of French eighteenth-century art for his son Nissim to inherit but when Nissim was killed in the First World War, it became a memorial and has remained unchanged since 1936. In Letters to Camondo Edmund de Waal explores the lavish rooms and detailed archives and uncovers new layers to the family story. This haunting series of letters addressed to the Count tell us what happened next.
‘Letters to Camondo . . . is subtle and thoughtful and nuanced and quiet. It is demanding but rewarding. It will make you think differently about trunks in the attic and it will make you read old letters with new eyes.’ Laura Freeman, The Times
‘It is through 58 imaginary letters to Camondo that De Waal tells the story of the man’s life and death, his house, his collections, his world and what became of it . . . Unadvertised, but consistently illuminating is also his artist’s, and connoisseur’s, eye for the practical details of how and why things are made, bought, collected and displayed.’ Nicholas Wroe, Guardian